By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — Selectmen gave the go ahead to Public Works Director Peter Nourse Wednesday night to determine about how much it would cost to reconfigure the intersection of Route 11A and Route 11B.
Nourse's suggestion is to eliminate the western-most part of the triangle and reconfigure the northern part of the triangle to form a "T" intersection with Route 11A, or Cherry Valley Road.
"I believe the intersection would be safer if it was 'T'd' up," he told selectmen.
This is not the first time selectmen have discussed eliminating the western merge lane from Intervale Road or Route 11B to Cherry Valley Road. For about two years, conversations between town officials and the DOT took place because the selectboard wanted to build a memorial park there to honor police officer and firefighters. The goal was to have it ready for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
At the time, the DOT was not interested in the suggestion, and, because both are state highways, the decision was and is within their purview.
Nourse told selectmen that in the course of his conversations with the officials from the DOT, they are interested for safety reasons but said the state can't pay for it. He told selectmen on Wednesday that if the state were to pay for it, it would have to be added to the "10-year plan."
"It is their desire to have as many "T" intersections as possible," he said yesterday.
Selectman Richard "Rags" Grenier said that he felt the possible reconstruction was not needed because the triangle "works the way it is."
The other selectmen, who both said they had nearly been in accidents there, were more interested in hearing about how much it would cost. Nourse said yesterday that in speaking with DOT officials he learned there is a possibility of a minimum amount of state grant money available from a sub-program of the New Hampshire safety improvement grants that address intersections proven to be dangerous or that have the potential to be dangerous.
Nourse is expected to report back to selectmen once he has a clearer idea of how much it would cost.
Local officials are thinking of removing the highlighted part of Route 11B in Gilford rather than wait for the state to take up the project. (Map courtesy Google Maps)